The Bradley County Healthy Community Initiative grants approved for 2011 are: Black Fox Elementary School Fox, $22,500; Bradley County Farmer’s Market, $5,000; Bradley County Emergency Medical Service, $30,598.79; Cleveland Civitan Club, $5,000; Family Promise of Bradley County, $4,200; Lake Forest Middle School, $5,000; Michigan Avenue Elementary, $8,641; People for Care and Learning, $6,299; Taylor Elementary School, $12,500; Valley View Elementary, $14,950; and Waterville Community Elementary School, $23,000.
The selection process for recipients is tedious to say the least, according to Lisa Stanbery, chairman of the Healthy Community Initiative Committee.
“First of all, grant applicants are very deserving. We wish we could fund everyone but there’s just not enough funding to do that,” said Stanbery.
Each grant application undergoes a two-part selection process. The first step is an evaluation for compliance and the second evaluation step is the content of the grant.
Stanbery said each grant is reviewed individually by each member of the HCI Committee. After the individual reviews, the committee joins together, reviews notes and then, using a a numerical rating system, votes on the grant applicants.
“There’s a lot of discussion that takes place in this selection. After rating the grant applicants, we discuss which grants go to the top of the list for full funding and we put that against funds that are available. We definitely look at what’s going to serve Bradley Countians most,” said Stanbery.
Black Fox Elementary, Lake Forest Middle, Taylor Elementary, Michigan Avenue Elementary, Valley View Elementary and Waterville Community Elementary schools all received grants for walking trails, school programs or new playground equipment to encourage physical activity and exercise.
Lake Forest Middle School is a first-year recipient of the HCI grant. According to principal Ritchie Stevenson, the school plans to build a mini-Greenway which will benefit not only the school, but the community as well.
“We’re most excited because this grant will provide for the community too. We want to do everything we can to make our school a community school. We’re just very thankful that the individuals overseeing this saw fit that we receive funding. We will put the funds to good use, particularly for the community,” said Stevenson.
“With the belief that healthy families produce healthy schools and a better life, our new ‘Tiger Trail’ will provide our Taylor school and community a place for students and families to exercise and play together,” said Dr. Sherry Shroyer, Taylor Elementary principal.
In addition to the HCI grant, Michigan Avenue Elementary has received matching funds and donations to purchase $20,000 in new playground equipment for its students.
“This addition to our campus will provide us with areas for physical activity for all students, including those with special needs, and will work in conjunction with our overall health program to combat child obesity, provide for childhood play and imagination, and assist in the overall health and well-being of the children of Michigan Avenue School,” said Michigan Avenue Elementary Principal Robert Brittingham.
“The HCI Committee looked at pockets of opportunities to put healthy activities in rural areas such as our schools and walking trails,” said Stanbery.
The opportunity to bring fresh food to community residents through the Bradley County Farmer’s Market also immediately sparked an opportunity for grant funds.
Although he was initially reluctant to ask for funding, Bradley County Emergency Medical Services Director Danny Lawson said the $30,600 grant the EMS received will purchase a Lifepack-15 heart monitor, which is now provided at all five county emergency medical stations.
“We were certainly reluctant to ask for it at first but we felt the benefits of this equipment were great and so we requested the funding. Obviously the HCI Committee felt it was a great benefit for our community as well. We’re very grateful and we’re excited to have this equipment which will be used seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” said Lawson.
Lawson said the Lifepack-15 heart monitor will allow critical care paramedics to diagnose acute heart conditions and transmit data to doctors and hospital staff, while transporting a patient to a hospital.
“The quicker you get an intervention, the more heart muscle you can save which will ultimately impact a patient’s livelihood,” said Lawson.
According to Jennifer Tollefson, with People for Care and Learning, the agency plans to install a public water fountain next to the Greenway playground equipment (off Raider Drive). The agency also has plans to install 12 fitness stations to the Greenway with the goal of providing additional motivation and instruction to improve the fitness and health of Bradley County residents.
“This year’s selection process went great. We had wonderful people working together for the project. Amy Moore and Matt Ryerson were a tremendous help and the HCI Committee thanks them for their service and efforts,” said Stanbery.